Greetings NWSA Students, Families, and Stakeholders!
I am truly honored and thrilled to be the new Principal at Northwest School of the Arts! A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Northwest in person and was immediately greeted by a culture of students and staff that truly impressed and warmed my heart. From the moment I entered the building,it was obvious that NWSA is a unique place where students grow and flourish in a safe, nurturing environment that genuinely strives to serve the whole child every single day. I am so excited to be serving in this capacity and to make NWSA a school where students, families, and our entire NWSA community are inspired, challenged, and celebrated as we strive to grow not only academically, but in what lies at the heart of NWSA’s distinctiveness - the arts.
While I am deeply committed to serving students, staff, and our broader school community, I am also a big believer in the importance of family. As a native of South Florida, I attended Florida State University with my brother, two sisters, and husband where I received a Bachelor’s Degree in English (Go Noles!). Growing up, my goal was always to be a professional writer, yet my path took me in a different direction, having earned my Master’s Degree in English Education at The University of Florida. My husband and I moved to Charlotte after we graduated, where I began my career in CMS. We have two teenage daughters, our youngest of whom will be a freshman at Ardrey Kell this year, and our oldest who just left for college at App State. It’s a good thing I will stay very busy this coming year, as the “nest” is quickly emptying! And I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to Kenneth, our 100-pound “lap dog” and thief of all things left at the edge of the kitchen counter.
Prior to being appointed as Principal at NWSA, I served in a number of roles that have prepared me to serve our students, staff, and stakeholders. I have spent my entire career in CMS, beginning with my role as an English Language Arts teacher for thirteen years in both middle school and high school. While not a day has passed that I have not missed being a classroom teacher, I learned several years ago, while serving as a national trainer and consultant for College Board, that I also have a genuine passion for working with adult learners. Since leaving the classroom several years ago, I have served as an instructional coach in various middle school settings, with a key focus on powerful literacy instruction across every discipline, as well as the implementation of concrete, effective systems of continuous improvement that lead to outstanding results for all students. I have also served as a district professional development specialist, training school leadership teams in best practices all across CMS, K-12. Most recently, I have served as an Assistant Principal at Ardrey Kell High School, a school I first opened as a classroom teacher in 2006. The broad spectrum of 6-12 experience as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, literacy specialist, and school administrator has uniquely prepared me for the critical role as both a middle and high school Principal at NWSA. Lastly, having served in schools where a majority of the students are grounded in and motivated by a comprehensive and robust arts program, I am keenly aware of the importance of building upon the stellar foundation of support that NWSA has already established with our families and community partners.
In the coming days and weeks, I am so excited to meet you - our students and our families! One of my first and primary goals is to learn and absorb as much as possible about this wonderful place and to ensure a smooth and welcoming start to the school year, especially after two years that presented incredible, unpredictable challenges in education and across our country. In the book I am currently reading, Spirit Work and the Science of Collaboration (Fullan and Edwards, 2022), the following resonates with me: “(Leaders) see collaboration not as a means to an end, but as something deeply human. We believe that the human spirit has a tendency to join with others to solve the deepest problems.” So true, now more than ever.
I cannot wait to get started and I cannot wait to meet each one of you. See you soon!
Katy Coffelt, M.Ed, NBCT
Northwest School of the Arts